Landscaping and stormwater management
This landscape may seem ordinary enough, but it features several elements to combine beauty, low maintenance and support of our local plant, animal and aquatic life cycles.
Drought Tolerant Plantings for Low Maintenance Beauty
This landscape may seem humble right now...but it will be beautiful with a little patience. What you are seeing are native landscape plug plants especially selected to be super hardy in DC's scorching summers while requiring little maintenance. These plants have been selected for their beauty in either bloom or foliage and their drought tolerance. This landscape has been professionally designed to be beautiful, with minimal need for watering and maintenance once established.
Native Plants to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed to Support Our Local Biodiversity
All new plants installed are native to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed (we did keep some of the original plants, given their excellent condition). Choosing native plants increases local flora and associated pollinators and insects. This supports the local biodiversity of our area.
Less than 20% of the yard is grass. Some my ask, why so little? Believe it or not, there is much controversy about the value of lawns. Some of the arguments against lawns include:
> Lawns take chemicals to make them look their best, and these chemicals can leach into the local rivers and streams affecting the populations of native flora and fauna.
> Lawns require a lot of water...and so supplemental watering is necessary
> Lawns are a monoculture that do not support local biodiversity
> Lawns typically require environmentally unfriendly gas powered devices to maintain them (mowers, leaf blowers, trimmers)
However, lawns do provide a place for kids and adults to romp and they do have a certain visual appeal. They have a place in this landscape, but in a limited scope.
Stormwater Management to Relieve the Load on DC's Aging System
Stormwater typically goes to the underground stormwater management system. Many times this system deposits large amounts of untreated water to local rivers and streams. The volume erodes these local waterways and pollutants in the water can damage local ecosystems.
Moreover, DC's stormwater system is antiquated and was not designed to handle the amount of rain water it receives today...leading to backups and sewer line breaks. There are ways to arrest this problem. 311 Varnum's landscape highlights several:
RAINGARDEN IN THE FRONT
The front downspout was disconnected from the storm water system and the storm water is lead to a shallow depression where the water can now soak into the ground. In fact, this water was routed to a rain garden. The rain garden plants were especially selected to withstand occasional flooding and drought.
FRENCH DRAIN IN THE REAR
In the rear, stormwater from the roof is routed to a perforated pipe, allowing it to infiltrate into the ground. Overflow is routed to the rear of the yard.
Vegetable Garden Designed into the Landscape
Tomatos anyone? A designed in veggie garden and composting bins are integral to the design of this landscape.